City of dreams
Honda hopes young drivers will dump the Jazz and rock the City, writes JAMES STANFORD
ACAR made to survive traffic snarls in Asia’s largest cities is coming to Australia. The Honda City was first introduced in Thailand in 1996 and is now exported to 36 countries.
Australia has ignored the first two generations of the Thai-built car, but has decided to bring the just introduced third-generation model here in February.
The City’s natural competitors are sedan versions of the Toyota Yaris and Holden Barina, and Honda believes it will also be shopped against the Nissan Tiida sedan.
Pricing is yet to be locked in but you can expect the City range, which will be made up of two models, to run from $17,990 to $21,990.
The City essentially fills the gap left by the Civic sedan, which has grown larger and become more expensive with each generation.
Honda Australia hopes it will appeal more to younger people than the Jazz, which has an average customer age of 55.
It may not look anything like it, but the City is based on the Honda Jazz, sharing 60 per cent of its parts.
The engine comes straight from the Jazz. It’s a 1.5-litre four-cylinder that produces 88kw at 6600 revs and 145Nm at 4800 revs.
In the Jazz it uses 6.4 litres for 100km with a manual transmission but Thai fuel-consumption figures show the City actually uses slightly less fuel than its hatchback sibling.
It is not clear whether this will translate when the consumption is tested according to our standards, but it is impressive, especially as the City weighs 40 to 60kg more than the Jazz.
Like the Jazz, the City will have a five-speed manual as standard or a five speed automatic.
The City is bigger than you might think. In fact, it isn’t that much smaller than the Civic sedan and is indeed larger in some respects.
The City is not as wide, 1695mm to 1750mm, and not as long, 4410mm to 4550mm, but is not all that far off.
Honda says the City has more rear legroom than a Civic.
The City is 510mm longer than the Jazz and this extra length has been added behind the driver and passenger seat, hence that legroom.
Like the Jazz, the petrol tank is beneath the driver and passenger, which helps with space efficiency.
The City has a larger boot than the Civic. Its 506 litres of space can carry four golf bags and easily swallow the largest cooler box you can get.
Perhaps more importantly for young families, a large pram also fits in there. The City is used by many taxi and limo operators in Thailand and, as such, has a retractable rear seat.
This feature won’t make it to Australia. We will have a regular 60/40 split rear seat instead.
Built off the same basic base as the Jazz, the City has MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension and the steering is electronically power-assisted. N AUSTRALIA, the City will come standard with anti-skid disc brakes and front, side and curtain airbags, but electronic stability control will not be available for another two years.
The entry-level car will have 15-inch steel rims and the up-market model sporty 16-inch alloys.
In Thailand, the City doesn’t have a CD player. Instead it has a USB port and an aux port for MP3 players and iPods, and you can still listen to the radio.
Australian City models will also have a CD player.